March 2024 Google Updates

27 Mar, 2024 Google News

This March, Google announced that it is rolling out another large update to its core systems. This update is expected to take about a month, which isn’t surprising considering all of the goals Google attempts to achieve with these changes.

This update has two main goals: improving rank results quality and implementing a new spam policy to demote poor content. It is acting much like an extension of the Helpful Content update that Google rolled out last August, which was designed to promote “helpful” content and demote “unhelpful” content. By analyzing how Google is attempting to accomplish these tasks, we can better understand how this update will affect websites and their ranking in the coming weeks.

Improving Rank Results Quality

Improving ranking results in quality across all potential queries asked to Google is no easy feat. For this reason, this update is expected to be more complex than the usual update, with changes to multiple core systems and updates to how the algorithm identifies the helpfulness of website content. Because Google is using multiple systems to identify reliable information, there are expected to be big changes across all of the different facets that make Google’s search engine tick.

These updates are designed to prioritize content that people find useful and reduce the amount of low-quality and unoriginal results that populate Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). According to Google’s internal research, this core algorithm update is expected to reduce the amount of low-quality unoriginal content in search results by 40 percent.

Implementing New Spam Policy

The larger part of this incoming update is the new spam policy targeting all content filtered through Google’s algorithm. Since the ultimate goal is to make internet content more human-first and less robot-first, this spam policy specifically targets content created to attract clicks rather than actually help people search for information.

Expired Domain Abuse

The spam policy has three main parts, each targeting a different kind of spam. The first kind of spam is expired domain abuse, where an expired domain is purchased and repurposed to manipulate search rankings. Buying a high-ranking dead domain from one industry and connecting it to another may help your ranking when it comes to the robots that analyze the content, but users looking for legal counsel and ending up on pages about medical procedures are going to be unhappy with such a dupe. It has yet to be seen if connecting expired domains within similar topics will be flagged as spam or will be seen as connecting helpful content across the World Wide Web.

Scaled Content Abuse

The second type of spam is scaled content abuse when multiple pages are generated with unoriginal content to manipulate rankings rather than provide useful information. This part of the spam policy is specifically building upon previous policies regarding content generated by artificial intelligence like ChatGPT and other similar programs. By focusing on quality over quantity, those overproducing unhelpful content – whether through the use of AI or human labor – will be targeted as spam in this update.

Reputation Abuse

The third and final type of spam Google targets this March is site reputation abuse. This is when two websites decide to collaborate through a sponsorship, advertisement, partnership, or other form of collaboration. While this is fine under most circumstances, smaller websites can manipulate search rankings through these partnerships with little-to-no first-party oversight. Not all third-party content will be considered a violation, especially when it is clear that the two parties are genuinely working together to achieve a common goal. Instead, this spam policy targets those who form these partnerships purely to build ranking and not to provide useful information to users searching for it.

To help those who may be affected by this update, Google has released a spam manual that outlines these policies and how they are specifically targeting spam content. Those who are affected by this update will receive a notice in their Google Search Console stating as such and have the opportunity to have the action reconsidered through the console.

Preparing for Google Updates

This update is expected to significantly change the internet, especially regarding how on-page and off-page SEO are conducted. Our team of industry experts has been studying Google’s updates for years so that we can optimize your content to the best of our abilities. To see how you can improve your website ranking through search engine optimization, contact our team at BluShark Digital today!